TRAVERSE CITY — It takes a village to keep one green.
That’s the message an Elk Rapids group hopes to deliver with its fifth annual Green Elk Rapids Days.
The event, May 7-20, focuses on green lifestyles and environmental issues, with activities for all ages and interests. Activities include everything from “Trashformations” and essay contests, to film screenings and book discussions, to organized hikes and paddles.
“We just thought it was an organic way to build a community awareness and perhaps, collectively, a community pride,” said Royce Ragland, chairman of the volunteer group — informally considered a committee of the Elk Rapids Village Council — that organizes the event. “And it was certainly a nice thing to be identified for as a small village.”
Ragland sald the event stems from a 2009 conversation among a small group of friends, including an environmentalist and members of the Village Council and the Village Planning Commission.
“We were sitting around talking about the things Elk Rapids does that are green, like wood chipping and (exploring) rain gardens as a way to handle storm runoff,” she said. “We thought, ‘This is pretty progressive, pretty green, pretty environmental. Probably not many people know we do this.’”
The friends asked then-Village Manager Bob Peterson to make a list of the village’s green practices for its next Village Council meeting and invited a dozen or so local groups to talk about their own green efforts.
Then they placed a small public notice about the meeting in the local paper.
“To our thrill and delight, a lot of villagers came to the Village Council meeting, where we highlighted a lot of the green things the village did,” said Ragland, an active community volunteer and Planning Commission member. “We thought this is such a good thing to promote Elk Rapids as a place that wants to be green, to be right. We agreed it would attract people to live here.”